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The three main approaches to organizational change are total quality management, downsizing and re-engineering. Quality management plays a significantly important role in the success of any business. An organization is required to develop good interpersonal skills, technical tools and management techniques to compete effectively in today’s business environment. Total quality management involves all parts of the business in pursuit of the highest quality of results. The aspect of process thinking is essential for quality improvement. It occurs when pervasive enterprise-wide awareness, perpetuates internal improvement efforts and eventually influences the improvement in relationships with the customers and suppliers. Managers, wishing to improve the quality of operations, should look at the entire process rather than a particular business function. Process thinking managers have the ability to see the implications of their actions across the company and project themselves into the situation of their customers. The success of a business process is dependent on how well process thinking is accepted, internalized and institutionalized.
Customers, require products that meet their performance requirements, and also satisfactory in terms of safety and their length of working life. Quality control tools provide data, spelling out a firm’s quality problems. Statistical tools alone cannot be relied on for quality management. Employing group-solving techniques, for example, brain storming, may help realize the overall goals of quality management. The roles and responsibility of a quality manager, and the approaches towards quality management, will vary depending on the type of the industry and size of the business entity. The main quality control tools are the flowchart, cause and effect diagrams, the Pareto diagram, the check sheet, the scattered diagram, the histogram, and the control chart.
A histogram is a basic statistical tool, which graphically shows the frequency of observations of a particular value, within a certain group. It can be used in quality control to establish the proportions of observations outside the given limits. A quality control manager can use the illustration from a histogram to either accept or reject defective items from the production line. The cause and effect diagram has proven to be a significantly important team approach to brainstorm the cause of a certain product’s defect. It is a graphical tool, constructed in a team setting, to establish the contributing factors and their relation to a defect. Moreover, it is used to identify areas of future data collection analysis to identify process improvement in the future.
Cause and effect diagrams, also known as the fishbone or the Ishikawa diagrams are used to identify the potential causes of defects. The causes could be, human factors, method and design factors, machines-related factors and material and components factor. These diagrams systematically list the different causes that can be attributed to a problem. After the causes associated with the various steps in the production process are discovered, the significant root causes of the problem are selected, verified and corrected. They help identify why a process goes out of control. If the process is stable, it will help organize efforts to improve. On the other hand, if a process is chaotic, the Ishikawa diagrams help uncover areas that can assist in stabilizing the process. This technique is significantly advantageous as every staff member can get involved and feel that their views are valued in the problem-solving process. Usually, a small group drawn from the operations or management, works with an experienced facilitator. As a group technique, there is a great interaction between employees, and effective solutions can be obtained based on the broad views.
An effective quality control ensures that the production of defective units is minimized and thus reducing the need to inspect the final products and discard the substandard ones. More emphasis is put on the production process itself and the planning stage to ensure that the design allow high quality. Every individual’s responsibility is to pass units that are of perfect quality. Measurements to obtain data, plays an important role, particularly in the inspection of the quality of products. In addition, the data obtained can be use to predict and control the quality of products in the future. There are two main approaches to quality control, acceptance and sampling, and the statistical approach. Acceptance sampling is a technique used to accept or reject a batch of items based on assumption. After applying tests on the samples, the manager, extends the test results to the whole batch. The statistical process control ensures that a process is meeting specific standards by measuring the performance process. The process capability is periodically evaluated to ensure that it performs as planned. The quality of the process can be affected by natural variations that occur in any production process. As long as the variations are within the given limit, the quality will not be affected. However, when the variations are outside the limits, the causes must be determined and changes made to bring the process to an in-control state. Control charts are used to separate the random causes such as the operator error, faulty setup and poor materials.
To analyze the increase in defect rate in the precision die castings of Cignet Plastics Corporation, the Cause and Effect diagram would be appropriate because it’s strength lies in analyzing relationships in a structured way focusing on the root cause rather than symptoms. Considering, for example, four out of eight defects in the die casting, a high cumulative percentage of rejection due to these defects should raise concerns on the causes of the four defects. The identified defects can be overcome once the causes and their location in the production process are established. This process of quality control does not have to be done in one meeting, but several sittings can be organized and the diagrams updated for best results.